Felmersham Archaeology
Celtic Grave Goods

During the Second World War, circa 1942, sand and gravel was extracted in an area to the north of the River Ouse at Felmersham. This area is now known as Felmersham Nature Reserve and is open to the public. 
During the gravel working some significant Celtic grave goods were found possibly placed in the grave of an important Celtic chief who lived over some 2000 years ago. Unfortunately they were extensively damage during excavation and it is also believed that many of the objects were not recovered.
However at least one of the pieces now on view in Bedford Museum is considered to be very rare.

Bronze "Hanging" Bowl
When in use this bowl would have hung from three finely worked chains. The fastening for one of the chains can be seen in the above photograph. Bowls of this type and quality are very rare and could only be afforded by rich and powerful.   Celtics wished to maintain their standing in society in the afterlife. Consequently they took their expensive objects to the grave so as to maintain their status in the life after death.
Bronze Spout from a Beer Strainer

This cast bronze spout is in the form of a fish head, probably a salmon. The Celtics believed that salmon provided them with knowledge and wisdom.
The spout was worked in beeswax and clay was then moulded around the wax. The wax was removed by melting and bronze poured into the clay mould. Finally the bronze casting was coated with a red enamel which, over the years, has mostly disappeared.
It was probably made circa 100BC.

     © K F Shrimpton who wishes to thank Bedford Museum
      for allowing photographs to be taken.

      Some of the text is précised from the display cards in
      Bedford Museum.


Bronze Bucket Handle
Buckets, cauldron, bowls and strainers were very important as ritual objects. As well as being useful for every day living they were associated with the traditions of heroes, feasting and rebirth. Bulls were symbols of strength and fertility.
The pair of cattle heads, although appearing similar, are in fact different. Thus suggesting they were moulded using two different moulds.
The handle was fixed to the bucket by making two diametrically opposite holes near the rim of the bucket. The spigots at the rear of each head were engaged in the holes and riveted in position.

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